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Key steps to a successful corporate strategy

Sanjay Sista

29 Aug 2017

Photographer: Darren Staples

As the corporate strategy landscape grows increasingly complex, Thomson Reuters senior strategy manager Sanjay Sista considers the approaches and innovative solutions that organizations need to consider.

The role of managing corporate strategy is broad and diverse. One moment you’re exploring emerging trends, the next you might be considering the impact of activity in the M&A arena.

As well as helping the c-suite balance the short and long-term demands of the business, there are a variety of external pressures to evaluate, such as geopolitical risk or the ever-changing regulatory landscape.

Find out how our suite of solutions can help you to better understand the competition, identify new markets, and weigh up potential mergers and acquisitions

Sanjay Sista, a senior strategy manager at Thomson Reuters, gives us an exclusive insight into what it’s like managing corporate strategy at a multinational organization, drawing on his extensive background in engineering and strategy consulting.

Sanjay Sista, senior strategy manager at Thomson Reuters
Sanjay Sista, senior strategy manager at Thomson Reuters

He considers the emerging trends and how new technologies are making a difference to his job.

What does your typical day involve?

The corporate strategy team in the Financial & Risk business is involved in a range of activities.

This can vary from providing the proposition team with market insights for future product development to preparing documents for strategy review meetings and board recommendations to specific ad hoc tasks for the executive leadership team.

Another important part of our role is to identify where Thomson Reuters should be positioned within the segments we currently operate in and other segments that we should be working in.

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How is Thomson Reuters adapting its strategy to support customers?

For us, it is about thinking how we can support our clients to pursue opportunities and mitigate risk.

Part of that is providing them with better enterprise level solutions, data management and data science, as well as the ability to draw insights across disparate data sets.

Secondly, we are thinking about managed services because as banks, for example, try to cut down on their internal costs, infrastructure and maintenance, they are seeking to adopt the outsourcing model in the arena of technology.

Thirdly, we are helping our customers by developing new regulatory solutions which will allow them to be compliant with the breadth of regulations being introduced, such as MiFID II.

What trends are you seeing in the management of corporate strategy?

Organizations outside the financial services market are moving from a portfolio approach towards a platform model where they are thinking about how they can provide a complete package to their customers, evolving more around work flows and enterprise solutions.

Strategists are also becoming increasingly operational by speaking to customers about their needs and getting to the heart of what the customer really wants.

What should organizations consider when developing their strategy?

I think the key strategic focus is to know what is happening within your customer’s customer market. By working backwards from there, you have a base from which to develop your approach and help them achieve their business goals.

Likewise, it’s also important to keep an eye out for regulations and all other externalities in the world that could influence the market going forward.

Equally as important is to look at what the other players in the field are doing.

Finally, you can then think about your own capabilities. Strategy per se is about your long term place so your capabilities and skill sets play a slightly more marginal role than other factors.

To what extent does innovation drive corporate strategy?

It varies between industry and the type of company you are in.

On the one hand, if you are in a fast paced environment then innovation is pretty much the name of the game and plays a huge role in how you think about strategy.

However, if you are in an industry that moves more slowly, such as the financial services market, innovation plays a slightly smaller role.

We can take artificial intelligence as an example. It is one of the most significant advancements but there is a lot of uncertainty around whether it will take two or even ten years to come into play.

This links back to the fundamental reason why you need to work with your customers more to figure out how fast they believe they can adopt things. An organization needs to consider how much risk appetite they have for innovation.  If they get it right, it could be groundbreaking, if not it may be detrimental.

How do Thomson Reuters tools and technologies help you?

The main tool we use is Thomson Reuters Eikon, which is an intelligent and simple solution for today’s corporates to explore industries, emerging trends, adjacent markets and the competitive landscape.

Thomson Reuters Eikon - Company Deals Data
Thomson Reuters Eikon – Company Deals Data

Discover how Thomson Reuters Eikon can help you understand the markets, competition and emerging trends – with powerful solutions you can filter and customize to your exact needs

We also use StarMine Quantitative Analytics to gain an insight into the themes in the market so we better understand the M&A landscape and what our competitors are doing.

Thomson Reuters StarMine Quantitative Analytics
Thomson Reuters StarMine Quantitative Analytics

Find out more about StarMine Quantitative Analytics

For example, are our competitors expanding organically/inorganically? What exactly is their approach in the same world that we are all operating in?

We also use a lot of secondary research because it is important to use a plurality of sources when building a strategy in order to improve the confidence of the strategy being undertaken.

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